February is a perfect reason
To observe the rhythms of the season
Purple skies and sheets of white
Make each twilight a natural delight.
Come mid-month the skies will glow
With the hopes of one more month of snow.
Yes, February will give and take
While Nature’s best begins to wake.
The fog layer that has been oppressing our spirits and hiding the golden orb finally lifted Jan. 31 and unleashed a fabulous night sky. Accompanied by no moon, the evening sky glow from the stars felt magical. February evening skies are often brilliant, make a point of turning off outdoor lights to enjoy this enchanting sky.
This month’s full moon will arrive on Feb. 16 and is named the Snow Moon, giving homage to the time of year when the snows are deepest. Let’s hope the name holds true and we will in fact be blessed with more fluffy white. In particular, the Loup Loup Ski Bowl really needs it as evidenced by recent closure. We are currently over 100% annual snowpack in the high country, which is good for the streams, rivers and wildfires, but the lack of fresh snow has made mountain recreation a real disappointment for regional downhill ski areas and backcountry skiers.
Apart from the snow moon, February offers some blessings, most notably a time to observe the winter’s fleeting. As a short month, February whizzes by and can almost seem to be get lost in year, but it offers reflective time to watch winter expand and recede in an exchange of give-and-take. February twilight is a time to celebrate the returning of the sun. The night skies are a time to wonder and contemplate the coming spring, and daytime is often basked in blue skies and warm sunshine.
The color of February a violet ensemble as snow turns from white to a subtle periwinkle. The air, though light and brisk, feels frozen in time holding a thick heavy blue palpable to the soul. As the days become longer, daylight lingers into the dinner hour and twilight dances across the hills in soft tones of pink and purple.
There is a group of crows that live in the evergreen trees surrounding my home. They are always talking up a storm, making their representative caws, crackling, clicking and rattling calls. Recently, their numbers seem to have exploded, giving pause to consider their omnipresence.
The intelligence of crows and other corvid family birds is well known. Experts say crows hold funeral type gatherings around their deceased family members and engage in play. They often mimic other birds, creating confusion, and can mimic human voices.
This group appears to play a form of tag on the telephone wire. They perch on the wire, then one flies away followed by another, and another until the wire empties. Then, one-by-one they return. They play this game often. Their presence asserts a slight air of arrogance and dominance. I have heard too many bad crow stories to get too close, so I let them be.